Bruce Charlton has pointed out that Western economies would probably have collapsed some time ago if they weren't being artificially kept going by behind the scenes movers and shakers. He concludes, rightly I think, that this is because present day conditions are well nigh ideal for spiritual destruction. We have a comfortable material existence and a superficially plausible explanation for why life exists, plausible enough to satisfy those who aren't willing to look more deeply anyway, coupled with a technology that gives us an abundance of toys to distract us from our inner emptiness.
Furthermore the sexual revolution has led to a spiritual desensitivity which would have shocked our ancestors, the wisest of whom knew that releasing the sexual energy from a proper constraint (constraint not repression) is profoundly destructive on many levels, both spiritual and material. The wisest knew and the rest more or less followed, certainly in terms of how society and culture were ordered which is the important thing. Laws will always be broken but without law there is chaos, and that's what we have today if you observe from the vantage point of the spiritual plane.
Now this deferment of collapse can't go on forever but it seems it will go on for as long as possible, the better to entrap as many souls as possible in a downward spiral. Where does this lead? Traditionally one would have said it leads to damnation but I must confess I have a hard time believing that to be the case, given God's love and his mercy. At the same time, I also have a hard time in seeing how souls that consistently reject God and prefer the bad, the ugly and the false to the Good, the Beautiful and the True, which is what the majority do today, can escape the consequences of their actions. You might say that most people simply go along with the status quo, and that is undoubtedly so. But that is to ignore the fact that we all have God within us, and we all have the spiritual teachings of the past to guide us, now more accessible than at any time if we can be bothered to make the effort to look.
Yes, people, especially the young, live and are growing up during a period of terrible corruption. I was told in the 1990s that we were living at a time of the greatest vulgarity in the history of the planet. Vulgarity was the word used but, in the manner used, it implied a lot more than just simple coarseness. It meant decadence, corruption and spiritual ignorance. It meant declining taste, lack of dignity and ugliness. Now, of course, things are significantly worse. So people, in particular young people with a debased culture, both popular and intellectual, are subject to appalling influences and temptations. But still the way out exists for those who will pay attention to the voice of truth within them. Outer institutions are useless so the way out is actually the way in but ultimately that's what it's always been, even when institutions helped rather than hindered the spiritual quest as used to be the case.
So we may be living in a time of spiritual darkness and deprivation but that is the test. Will we allow ourselves to fall into line with that because of a willful (and the will is always involved) lack of response to truth or will we listen to God's voice within? Will we follow the herd and the line of least resistance or will we acknowledge conscience and hearken to the intuition? We have the choice and if the choice is hard that is only because it must be to be a true test of our mettle, our spiritual quality and our good will. I believe that now we have, as probably never before, not on the same scale anyway, a sorting out of the sheep from the goats or, if you like, of the good seed from the bad. Today there is a real sifting of souls.
The good seed will go on as intended to the spiritual worlds there to blossom and flower, doubtless after more tests and purification even if the main test is here, but the bad seed will not. As I said earlier, I can't bring myself to believe in a permanent damnation, not in most cases. Most people who don't turn to God are not that bad and they do have good within them, sometimes a lot of good. (You might say many have more good within them than many who do turn to God but then I would reply that these people have not really turned to God, not in the heart). So some of this bad or, shall we say, unsprouted, seed could be burnt and the life within it/them recycled, but I think that is relatively rare. Most might be replanted elsewhere to learn the lessons they have refused to learn here, probably under stricter conditions. They are given another chance to become what they should be but they will still have to experience the results of their wrong choices in this world. I don't think it will be easy for them, given their rejection of truth in this life.
The dark powers, of course, want to keep as many souls from God as possible and that is why they are working so hard now. Whether lost souls benefit them directly, as some sort of accumulation of spiritual energy which they can tap, or whether they simply derive pleasure in corruption, destruction and attempting to spite God, I don't know. Perhaps both so they find a perverse satisfaction in diverting souls from their proper spiritual path, which, let's face it, is most these days, but their main goal is spiritual destruction, to separate souls as far as possible from God.
The question is why has the devil chosen now to strike in this manner? And why has God allowed it? It is clear that this time in history has been known about for ages. It has been predicted in most religions, this falling away from God into spiritual desolation. As regards the second question, it seems to me that God has allowed it because it constitutes a good test for the seeds as spoken of above. Out of evil can come good. But it is also a perfect time for the devil to make his strongest move yet because it is a time when his words will be most heeded, and that for two reasons. One, we are at the end of an age, the time of the so called Kali Yuga when the distance matter has travelled from initiating spirit is at its greatest. That means the barriers between the spiritual and the material worlds are denser than they have ever been so it is much easier to deny the existence of the spiritual and believe the material is all there is. It is easier to think that mind and consciousness derive from matter rather than the other way round which is the correct view. You do have to make a positive choice.
The second reason has to do with the spiritual adolescence of humanity. We have left behind our childhood and moved into the rebellious teenage phase, a perfect time for the devil. We are now sufficiently free to make consciously wrong decisions and to pursue egotistic short-sighted ends. In the past not enough of us would have been conscious enough to do this. Now humanity as a whole is conscious enough to rebel and to defy but not sufficiently conscious to realize what it is doing - even though it should, that is not meant as an excuse. We can take a big step forward into a freer, more conscious existence in which we start to become participators with God in a more active sense than heretofore. We can be consciously, positively spiritual and not just passive taggers along with the energies of creation. Or we can refuse to do that and follow our own wills. So there's a risk, greater consciousness and freedom, or, if we don't follow the God within and listen only to our lower mind and ego, potential spiritual disaster.
There's a lot to play for and at the moment the game is not going very well. But then nor did it seem to be at the time of the Crucifixion and God still had a few tricks up his sleeve, if you'll forgive the expression. All we can do is keep the faith, remembering that the devil does not just foster materialism and atheism, he also seeks to pervert and corrupt any nascent spirituality both outwardly as in religions and teachings, and inwardly as in how we respond to truth once we start to awaken, whether pridefully or humbly, superficially or with depth of insight. Awakening is just the beginning. Once awake we can still make any number of bad choices and will do unless we seek always to walk in the light of Christ.